Death Valley Ride Report: Day 3, Towne Pass

  • Motorcycle Miles: 55
  • Bicycle Miles: 29

A little bit about my original cycling Death Valley plan:  Originally I was thinking I’d tackle 2 climbs per day, get up early.. ride one.. relocate to the start of the next, ride another.  Just looking at the bicycle parts, that’s not super crazy – I’ll do 7000 ascent as a regular ride, and if I just do the climbing vs. droning along boring flat stuff, the actual saddle time would be shorter.

However, riding a motorcycle is also tiring.  So is packing, unpacking and camping.  After Wildrose, I headed over to camp at Panamint springs.  Originally I was going to ride Towne pass back-to-back with Wildrose – I quickly abandoned that idea and decided to ride it the next day, and if I was feeling good, ride both sides.

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Also handy, your bike rack can act as a clothes line!

Once again, up early (due to heat) and headed out to climb Towne pass.  Starting from the Panamint side is definitely easier, here’s the view going up.

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Panamint valley facing up Towne

This climb is mostly just a grind on up, there was the occasional car, but nothing really notable.  Despite it being in the Top 100, I wouldn’t have been real sad if I skipped it.

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Sometimes ya gotta stop and pee

After about an hour and a half, I reached the summit and had to decide if I was going down the other side!

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Actually this wasn’t a difficult decision – I was tired out.  For my longer trip, I think back-to-back motorcycle-bicycle riding is probably not a great idea.  I’ll need to be more selective about which climbs I choose.

I pointed my way back to camp and hauled down hill, sitting up the entire way, hoping not to overheat my brakes.  These long Death Valley climbs make it real easy to hit 50+ mph.  I was still on my small knob CX tires, so this was not an experiment I was keen to try out.  I’ll be back on near-slick tires for the multi-week trip!

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Panamint valley floor.  Epic.

Back to camp to shower, pack up, and wait out the heat before heading over to Furnace Creek (55 miles by motorcycle.)

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